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How Does Fitzgerald Tell the Story in Chapter 9 of the Great Gatsby?

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How Does Fitzgerald Tell the Story in Chapter 9 of the Great Gatsby?

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  • Jan. 2013
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Chapter 9, the last chapter of the novel, is used by Fitzgerald to create a sense of finality for the reader, suggesting ‘the party was over’. This chapter allows him to make his final comment on the unfulfilling nature of the American Dream, and the nature of the people that lived in the ‘Roaring Twenties’. The chapter is made for the obvious purpose of being the conclusion to the story. Rather than leave the ending ambiguous as many authors do, Fitzgerald wraps up the narrative decisively. This sense of finality of the book allows the reader to come to final conclusions and judgements of what they have seen. An open ended book can allow readers to come up with their own endings, but a book with a definitive ending allows readers to see what happened and then decide what it means. Fitzgerald allows the reader to form their own opinions on the events that definitely happened in the story, giving a greater sense of meaning and attachment to the story. Nick narrates the chapter from two years later, looking back at the final days he spent in New York. Throughout the chapter Nick shows his disgust and contempt for the East of the U.S., clearly preferring ‘[his] Middle West’. Fitzgerald does this to make us, as readers, antagonise the East society as the main cause of the tragic events of the novel. He does this by showing Nick, the one involved in most if not all the events of the novel, completely appalled at the actions of people that have made their lives in the East. This is particularly shown when Nick initially refuses to shake Tom Buchanan’s hand. He has correctly deduced that Tom was the one who told Wilson that Gatsby’s car was the one that ran Myrtle over, and out of his ‘provincial squeamishness’ he did not shake hands. He does ultimately shake hands, but only out of pity and as a sign of farewell so that he does not have to see Tom again. We are meant to feel Nick’s relief of not having to see this clear representation of all that was wrong with ‘old...

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